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4 GRC Trends Brought on by the Pandemic

April 26, 2021

By Erin O'Hern, VP, Strategic Initiatives

2020 was a testing year for governance, risk and compliance (GRC) teams. Moving forward in a world reshaped by the pandemic, those same teams will be forced to navigate a future that demands – among many other new and refined skill sets – the mastery of collaboration. We see this living out in a number of ways, but the following four rise to the top of the pile as the most immediately relevant. 

1. Automating Mundane Compliance Tasks

Compliance teams face difficult times ahead with the growing number of regulations and the change to remote working to which some teams are considering making a more permanent part of operations. For most organizations, assigning additional employees to compliance issues is not an option, so many are turning to technology to fill in the gaps. 

Specifically, we anticipate greater investment in automation and simplification of compliance processes to support compliance teams. 

Alternative solutions to support compliance management are necessary to help organizations meet their obligations in the contemporary business landscape. It’s why we see compliance departments that haven't previously engaged with regtech providers now taking their first steps toward automation. 

Even in normal times, new policies and regulations bring complexity to compliance operations in all sectors. Addressing the many requirements of what is now an even more dynamic regulatory environment will be very difficult for GRC leaders without support. By integrating automated tools into regulatory procedures, GRC teams working toward strong cohesion will benefit from the transparent, fast and error-free automation of routine activities. These include things like report generation and distribution, e-mail circulation, status updates and reminders. Automating and streamlining these tasks allows GRC pros to spend less time on the mundane and focus their time on the critical tasks, such as understanding complex new requirements.  

2. Revisiting Risk through a 2020 Lens

Pandemic-era organizations have weathered periods of frustrating uncertainty and dramatic changes. Everything from where employees work to how the business delivers its products had to shift. Going forward, these organizations will be expected to revisit their risk evaluations and business continuity plans through the lens of 2020 experience. Leadership will ask for recommendations on new measures that will set them up for success during the next inevitable crisis of COVID-19’s magnitude. 

Delivering on that expectation hinges on a cross-functional approach, bringing in as many perspectives as possible to properly identify key risk areas.
 
External threats continue to grow and become more complex, elevating the necessity of effective vendor management, IT and risk management systems. Therefore, organizations must actively seek innovative ways to de-silo the management of their growing risk obligations. Technology can be a strong ally in this mission by enabling things like organizational performance, data-driven decision-making and enterprise-wide communication, even while working remotely. Finding an integrated technology platform that can report across all requirements, while providing an audit or activity log, is key.

3. Embracing the Cloud for Elevated GRC

Along with the many other digital solutions that experienced rapid adoption in 2020, cloud technologies are playing a much greater role in GRC. As the various GRC functions needed to quickly procure tools for remote team collaboration, on-site applications experienced a decline. 
 
Experts predict this circumstance to kickstart a rapid deterioration of traditional on-site processes. Such a transition would require organizations to embrace nimble software and other technologies that can flex and evolve at the pace of digital change. The cloud offers this capability, as well as the processing power to move fast and deliver insights and experiences in real-time. Users enjoy ease of access and minimal maintenance tasks, not to mention a wide range of virtual conferencing tools that make remote teamwork plausible. 
 
While due diligence with any provider will remain paramount, organizations that have not yet completed their transition to the cloud will get much closer to reaching that objective in 2021.

4. Enjoying the Remote Audit Experience

Both internal and external audits have long been necessary to ensure an organization’s compliance with the evolving regulatory environment. What has changed is the “how” of these audits. Regular, on-site auditing involving the participation of auditors in-person became impractical in 2020, due to safety procedures and travel limitations. Cloud technologies, however, made remote audits realistic and accessible, while also friction-free and… dare I say… enjoyable. 
 
Moving forward, more GRC teams and their auditing partners will experience the remote audit’s scalability, efficiency, speed and affordability. We see this forcing greater adoption of the practice across the global GRC environment.  

Feeling the Full Impact of Technology

Technology gets a lot of attention for driving competitive differentiation on the customer front. Just as importantly, however, technology fuels internal collaboration. It enables teams to proactively control and navigate ever-changing external environments so they can continue to focus on creating exceptional experiences for their customers. 
 
By integrating technology change efforts into GRC strategies, specifically, organizations will achieve even greater KPIs than ever before, even in a dramatically reshaped business environment. The next few years will be an exciting adventure for GRC pros as they dip their toes into automation waters and come away with a much clearer view of the incredible business and process improvements technology can deliver.  

 

Services performed by ViClarity are compliance and not legal in nature, and do not form an attorney-client relationship or any of the protections attendant to the attorney-client relationship.

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